Sporting Clays

The main reason men hate outdoor fall activities is that there's no competitive element -- unless you get adrenalized by picking bigger pumpkins than your buddies. To slake your thirst for competition and get your autumnal outdoor fix, head up to the Sandanona Shooting Grounds. Constructed during Thomas Jefferson's presidency, "America's oldest shooting preserve" harkens from a time when gunplay was so common, few predicted that it'd ever need preservation. Their specialty's sporting clays: orange-and-black discs fired into the air by a "trapper" -- a caddie for fake-bird-murder. The game's similar to golf in other ways too: each player gets 100 clays to hit (or repeatedly miss). The action's spread out over a dozen or more stations (like holes), with each shot's difficulty rating depending on the speed/angle that the target's loosed into the air. Of course, if you find all gun-related activity difficult, you can take a quick lesson -- then be out shattering discs as soon as you've learned basic techniques for not killing friends/trappers. Sandanona's about 90 minutes up the Taconic -- an easy rental car daytrip, provided you drive better than you'll probably shoot. After your round of clays, casually wolf down an outdoor catered lunch. The club's BYOB, so you can haul in your own whiskey jug, the one caveat being you can't grab a gun after drinking -- because when you add alcohol to firearms, only rivers of blood will slake you. Or just pumpkins.